For Immediate Release

Beginning Monday, November 21, through Sunday, November 27, The Galena Police Department will join many other police agencies across the state, including the Kansas Highway Patrol, in the Kansas Thanksgiving Traffic Enforcement Campaign. A grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) will underwrite overtime enforcement efforts that specifically aim at removing impaired drivers from our roads and ticketing vehicle occupants who are unrestrained or whose child passengers are unrestrained.

In comparison with other holidays, the Thanksgiving holiday period (Wednesday-Sunday) outranks all but New Year’s in average number of crashes in which driver impairment is cited as a factor.  Those driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs endanger not only themselves, but also others they share the road with – such as their passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.  On average, across Kansas, five persons are killed or injured in alcohol/drug-related crashes each day.  And the crashes tend to be more severe.  According to KDOT, which tracks all crashes in the state, vehicle occupants in alcohol- or other drug-related crashes are over 2 ½ times more likely to be injured or killed than those involved in crashes where alcohol or other drugs were not a factor.

Each week across Kansas, over 250 drivers are arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence).  A DUI conviction will result in jail time, the suspension or revocation of driver’s license, a fine of $500 to $2,500, participation in an alcohol or other drug treatment program, and the purchase and installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender’s vehicle.  This device requires the offender to blow into a device that measures blood alcohol concentration prior to starting the car.

Also responsible for needless death and maiming is the failure by many teens and adults to simply buckle up, or to properly buckle up child passengers.  Twice as many Kansans who die from a crash are unrestrained as are restrained.  Even worse is the fact that injuries suffered by those who are unbuckled are likely to be much more severe and disabling than injuries suffered by those who are buckled in.  This applies regardless of speed, and whether the occurrence is on a city street, a county road, or a highway.

“Keep in mind that if you are going to be drinking – any amount at all– don’t even consider driving home.  Arrange to ride with a non-drinking acquaintance.  Don’t let pride or concerns for your convenience endanger your life and the lives of innocent others.”